Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Muay Thai Chaiya, My Talking Dic at FCCT
The Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand in Bangkok regularly screens movies for the expat journo crowd, and this week they will feature the award-winning crime-boxing drama Muay Thai Chaiya and a short film, My Talking Dic, both starring Akara "Gof" Amarttayakul. Gof himself is due to put in an appearance.
It should be a good night. Akara is an enthusiastic personality who will no doubt charm even the most hard-bitten of the assembled press. He capably took on the role of presenter and translator at the world premiere of Chaiya at last year's Bangkok International Film Festival, making that one of the highlights of the festival.
One of my favorite films of 2007, Muay Thai Chaiya should need no introduction here. But, briefly, it's about three childhood friends whose paths diverge in the world of boxing in 1970s Bangkok. Produced by Five Star Production and directed by Ronin Team screenwriter-director Kongkiat Komesiri, it's a gripping and gritty drama that is also unabashedly sweet and nostalgic. Akara stars as a hot-headed boxer whose impatience and rebelliousness get the better of him, and he finds himself slugging it out in underground bare-knuckles ultimate fight matches and working as a murderous enforcer for various underworld figures. He has betrayed his childhood sweetheart, who has gone into the arms of one of his childhood friends, who is also rising through the ranks of the Muay Thai world. Because the mobsters are always fixing the boxing matches, a collision between those worlds, and the old friends, is inevitable.
Akara won best actor honors at the Subhanahongse Awards and from the Bangkok Critics Assembly, and the film also picked up trophies for best supporting actor for Sonthaya Chitmanee, who plays a loyal sidekick to Akara's character.
My Talking Dic is a short film, a co-production between Thailand-based British filmmaker Zoe Popham and Chakkaphan "Po" Vutthakanok, a graduate of Rangsit University's Motion Picture & Video Faculty who's been an assistant director on commericials for Jira Maligool's and Yongyuth Thongkongtoon's Hub Ho Hin production house, which is part of the GMM Tai Hub film studio. Popham and Po are expected to be on hand for the screening as well.
Akara stars as a Thai guy in a relationship with a young Westerner woman (Caitlin Haas) who get some help with their communication problems through the magic of a talking electronic pocket dictionary.
The short has been making its way around the festival circuit, with a screening at last month's Mumbai International Film Festival. It also screened at last year's World Film Festival of Bangkok, where I missed the chance to see it.
The event is at 7:30pm on Thursday at the FCCT, which is in the penthouse of the Maneeya Center at Chit Lom skytrain station. The plan is to show the short film first and have time for a dialogue with the actor and filmmakers. There's a cover of 150 baht for non-members.
Coming up at the FCCT: An April 24 screening of Me ... Myself, with an appearance by leading man Ananda Everingham.